We’re very proud of Such A Voice alumni Kim McKay on landing her first national radio VO for McDonald’s!
"A HUGE THANK YOU for your continuous education/seminars/newsletters and updates! I landed my FIRST NATIONAL RADIO VO for McDonald’s (AFTRA contract) and recorded in February. The tools, guidance and tips that I get from SAV have been extremely instrumental. Although I am a union artist and my path is a little different than most of my SAV colleagues, everything that I’ve received via SAV training over the years and continuously, still pays off. Especially segments on "Acting in Your Voice", "How To Take Direction", "Leaving Stress/Fear Behind", "Read as if You Are Rehearsing" and many more Bi-Weekly Live Training sessions, have been immensely effective in all of my auditions for VO readings (and I’ve had quite a bit of them)." ~Kim McKay
We asked Kim how she was fortunate enough to land such an exciting VO job. "When Such A Voice produced my voiceover demo, they gave me tips on marketing it to the various Union Agents. This is done the same way you market your demo to anyone (union or not) to get noticed. I sent my demo to over 200 VO industry agents with a short note of who I was and what the demo contained (i.e., narration, commercial, etc.) That demo immediately landed me the first of many, many auditions. I designed my own business card, that I put in the jacket of the demo and listed myself as a VO Artist, Actress and Print Model because sometimes the agencies do more than just VO."
Kim told us that after sending out her demo, agents who were interested called her in to meet with her personally. "I was excited! During the general interview, where they discussed how they worked/operated and all the VO industry updates, I remained extremely calm and truthful (sounds corny) but I was just being myself, as if I was having a regular conversation with long time friends. This is something Sara Goldberg discussed in her teleconference seminar on how when meeting artists, she likes to get to know them; see/hear their personalities."
Kim uses her Such A Voice webpage to send out to all of her prospective agents, "it helped me to get them to listen to the demo and learn more about me."
A little advice from Kim: "No matter what, as a VO artist you have to persist and keep practicing. I can’t tell you how many magazine ads I’ve torn out just to read; how many books I read out loud for narration practices, how many commercials I repeat right behind other VO artists; how many times I will read something with many different tones (happy, sad, nervous, excited and low-key) just to practice and practice. I swear, I talk to myself on a daily basis (laughing)."
Congratulations Kim on all of your success!!
I am a classical singer by training. It is common for bulletin boards in the hallways and corridors of conservatories and schools of music to be papered with recital posters, concert listings, and calls for auditions. So, it’s not unusual to find instrument and score-laden students poring over them interestedly. One day, as I was doing just that, I noticed a rather boring-looking flyer on pink paper calling generically for “3 men and 3 women.” A telephone number was listed at the bottom of the sheet. Perhaps someone is trying to assemble an a cappella or early music ensemble, I thought. I called to discover, in fact, it was a company holding auditions for a radio commercial. Having never done voice over jobs before, I thought, What the heck!, and decided to audition.
The copy was sent in advance so I had time to prepare, and I showed up to the studio at the time and date requested. I landed the job after that lone audition and it turned out to be more than the typical, first-time voice over gig. I was selected to be the first and only National Female Voice for what was then dot-com-phenom CollegeStudent.com. (CollegeStudent.com has since merged with Student Advantage.) Such serendipity led to the recording of multiple national spots over a two-year period for this “local, online campus community,” which was not only wonderful in-studio experience, but also contributed to the beginnings of a high-quality demo reel. (As an aside: the first spot we recorded was deemed so risqué that 50% of the markets in the nation wouldn’t play it!)
With this experience under my belt, I used my demo reel to market myself to voice over agents, acquiring my first representation with db Talent. I also contacted recording studios to find out if they maintain their own talent libraries and requested to be placed on file with those that do. Given the types of jobs I began working early on, it became clear to me that my industry niche was quirky, college-cool, but my singing background enabled me to expand that to include foreign languages and accents. Since that initial, unexpected audition, I’ve had the good fortune to record for a variety of corporations, including Time Warner Cable, Reebok, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Gozaic and Adobe, working on varied projects like telephony systems, industrial videos, television commercial demos and, of course, radio spots.
I look back on my entrée into a voice over career in astonishment. Voice over work had certainly never been part of my grand life plan and, truthfully, I had not heard of it when I made that fateful telephone call. However, I cannot deny I am pleased to have been one of those bulletin board-reading students because being so truly changed my life.
Alecia Batson is a professional actress, singer and voice over talent working in Boston, Austin and New York. Visit her web site at www.AleciaBatson.com.
How did YOU land your first voice over gig? Share your story and any advice with us…